by Karen 

I love Venus Williams.  I really do.  I enjoy watching her play tennis. She may not have the best results of anyone in the top tier of tennis at the moment, no scratch that, she has had better results this year than many players in the top tier of women’s tennis and she competes better than many players much younger than she is. 
Last night her competitiveness was on full display on Arthur Ashe Stadium against a wily opponent in Irini Falconi.  After serving for the match twice and being blitzed in the tie breaker, Venus as she has done over the span of 20 years as a professional athlete, regrouped and came out guns blazing and never let up.  When asked during the on court interview what drives her, Venus indicated that winning the next point was always her intention and this is what she did.  While many of her fans, myself included, would have preferred if she had won this match in straight sets, it was great to see her competing in the way she did.  Up next for her is Belinda Bencic, who had to stave off 3 match points in the second set against Misaki Doi to run away with the match 6-3 in the third.  Venus is 3-0 against Bencic, with their last meeting being a blitzing of the youngster in Dubai earlier this year.
Other second round matches from the top half of the draw saw Serena Williams struggle against the big hitting qualifier, Kiki Bertens.  Bertens had an opportunity to serve for the set against the World No.1, and she had a chance in the ensuing tiebreaker where she led 4-0, but Serena does what Serena does in the big moments and tightened up her game to take the set and the match.  Next up for Serena is Bethanie Mattek-Sands who dismissed Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.   Soon after her match Serena was out on the practice courts hitting serves, which is understandable seeing as he hit 10 double faults in the match against Bertens.

Day 4 sees the bottom half of the women’s draw take the court and the matches are intriguing.  Below are what to watch with the Spin’s Picks:’
Court Assignment
Arthur Ashe
Azarenka v. Wickmayer
Bondarenko v. Halep (match of the day)
Cetkovska v. Wozniacki
Errani v. Ostapenko
Giorgi v. Lisicki
Louis Armstrong
Rodina v. Stosur
Kvitova v. Gibbs
Court 5
Petkovic v. Vesnina
Knapp v. Kerber
Court 7
Strycova v. Wang
Court 11
Tsurenko v. Lepchenko
Kovinic v. Schmiedlova
Court 13
Barthel v. Govortsova
Nara v. Rogers
Court 17
Konta v. Muguruza
Pennetta v. Niculescu
Overheard in the Booth

Tennis needs to make up its mind what it wants.  You can’t condemn one player for behaviour that brings the sport into disrepute while at the same time celebrating a player taking her frustrations out on her racquet because a match is not going in her direction.
Yesterday, Coco Vandeweghe, in the midst of being bamboozled by trend setter extraordinaire, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, smashed her racquet to smithereens.  On social media fans celebrated this outpouring of frustration.  They were quick to name it and this morning during Tennis Channel’s highlight show they went to great lengths to celebrate the racquet smash.  In addition, they had Martina Navratilova give an example from her illustrious career as to why a racquet smash is sometimes required by telling a story about her partner smashing her racquet in the middle of a doubles match.  Both Martina and her partner ended up winning the match and the tournament.
If tennis wishes to take itself seriously then it needs to just allow players to vent in whatever way they choose and stop pretending that this kind of venting of frustration somehow demeans the sport.  It does not.  Frankly, I can think of a few players who would do well to smash a racquet in the middle of a match now and again.  It might just help them.

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